Tuesday, 28 June 2016


Poul Anderson, The Broken Sword (London, 1977).

"'None can escape his weird; but none other can take from him the heart wherewith he meets it.'" (p. 78)

Wisdom indeed.

Freda mourns but in beautiful language:

"'...my kin are dead...Broken is the tree whose branches sheltered the land, and wind blows cold across fields gone barren -'" (p. 79)

She then adds an acute observation on life - and death:

"'We all grow poorer when good folk go.'" (ibid.)

But we are enriched by memories.

She is concerned because:

"'The priest spoke about deaths unshriven -'" (ibid.)

- but Skafloc tells her to disregard this. One Christian tradition claims that those who have once been saved can never be lost whereas another tradition, represented by the priest, says that they can. Observing from outside Christianity, I merely note this disagreement.

Anderson shows insight into what we think immortal elves would be like:

"Always in the mirth of elf women was a hint of malicious mockery..." (ibid.)

"The cool, cunning elf women had many powers; but, perhaps because they always kept their own hearts locked away, they had never drawn his out of him." (p. 83)

- whereas a mortal woman laughs "...like a morning in blossom time..." (p. 79) and does get the human Skafloc's full attention.

Tyr tells Skafloc that the world:

"'...trembles to the hoofbeats of Time...The gods themselves are troubled.'" (p. 84) (see here)

- and human beings are certainly troubled now.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

As a Catholic, I of course agree with the priest mentioned here. He was trying to stress the need for repentance for one's sins or crimes before dying. And, if possible, to confess to a priest and receive absolution. The Protestant view you alluded to, "once saved, always saved" (or OSAS, for short) has never been convincing to me. It overlooks or ignores the painfully obvious fact that all human beings are flawed and imperfect sinners. Iow, for a Catholic salvation is life long process, not a single once and forever moment.